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  • Sep 1, 2014
  • Updated: 8:57pm
Public Eye
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 April, 2013, 4:06am

HK$100 million aid money is a proclamation of loyalty


Michael Chugani is a Hong Kong-born American citizen who has worked for many years as a journalist in Hong Kong, the USA and London. Aside from being a South China Morning Post columnist he also hosts ATV’s Newsline show, a radio show and writes for two Chinese-language publications. He has published a number of books on politics which contain English and Chinese versions.

To give, or not to give: that is the HK$100 million question. Before we answer that, let's make one thing clear: the central government has plenty of its own money to handle the devastating Sichuan earthquake. It doesn't need donations to pay for disaster relief. Beijing in fact spurned a Japanese aid offer, saying it can cope without international help. A proposal by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's administration to donate HK$100 million is, therefore, relief money only in name. It is, in reality, a political gesture. Some politicians have kicked up a stink about reaching so deep into the taxpayers' pocket for relief money that's not needed. They remember how corrupt officials squandered a much larger donation after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. But the point isn't whether the central government needs the money or if corrupt officials will again misuse it. The point is whether we want to fly our patriotic flag with HK$100 million written on it to proclaim our loyalty as part of the motherland. That is the question.


Someone, tell insensitive Canning Fok to shut up

There is a time to speak up and a time to shut up. Someone needs to explain that to Li Ka-shing's top aide Canning Fok Kin-ning. We all have our opinions on whether the 20 per cent pay rise demand by the striking dockers working for a Li-owned subsidiary is reasonable or excessive. Public Eye won't get into that. But we know this: someone who makes millions should watch his words carefully when commenting on those who make pocket change in comparison. Fok pulls in so many millions every year as Hutchison's managing director that he's constantly the city's top taxpayer. For him to say that the workers on strike are already earning plenty at HK$20,000 a month when the median monthly wage of Hongkongers is HK$12,000 was not just gratingly insensitive, but downright idiotic. Such insensitivity by one of Hong Kong's richest men exacerbates the already bitter divide between the rich and poor in a city with the widest wealth gap in the developed world. Is Fok saying that anyone earning a bit above that paltry HK$12,000 a month in this super-rich city has already achieved the Hong Kong dream? Was he not listening when a visiting Australian union leader condemned as living hell the Hong Kong dockers' working conditions and that they earn only a third of what Australian dockers, who work far fewer hours, do? How does that make Asia's so-called world city look on the international stage?


Pan-dems should make up their minds on milk powder

What is it that our so-called pan-democrats want? Why can't they just make up their minds? They savage the government for doing nothing when mainlanders and parallel-goods traders empty our store shelves of baby milk powder, driving local parents to desperation. But when the government actually does something by slapping a two-tin limit on people exiting the city, the democrats decide to turn indignant and demand a sunset clause for the new rule. What kind of idiocy is it to demand something, get it, and then demand an end date for it before it has even had a chance to work properly? Sure, the two-tin limit had teething problems. But all it needs is a bit of tinkering, not cold feet. Any early scrapping of the new rule will only trigger another buying frenzy of baby milk powder by mainlanders. When that happens, all the fury of local parents should then be directed at the wimps who now want a sunset clause.




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There is understandable antipathy to the government's proposed donation of $100 million to the Sichuan government for earthquake relief.
I would accordingly suggest that the money would be better spent on donations to established and trustworthy relief organisations for immediate aid and that the balance be given to HK's own Civil Aid Service for a lasting and meaningful demonstration of our concern.
This would enable the CAS, with assistance from other emergency services, to recruit, train and eqip an elite volunteer disaster response unit capable of being dispatched over the border, or anywhere in the region, at short notice to locate and recover survivors and provide them with medical assistance and temporary shelter and sustenance.
This volunteer unit could include pilots, coxswains, drivers, dog handlers, communicators, rescue professionals, doctors and nurses and emergency managers from across HK society. I am sure that there would be no shortage of volunteers.
Hong Kong people are lucky to have that LegCo. In Macau the Government will donate to the Mainland whatever patriotic tribute they find fit without asking permission from anyone.
"The point is whether we want to fly our patriotic flag with HK$100 million written on it to proclaim our loyalty as part of the motherland. That is the question." The answer: Hong Kong isn't patriotic, does not want to be part of the mainland and wishes it could figure out some way of escaping from the ever increasing grip of the party. HK$100 million isn't enough to buy patriotism so don't waste it on corrupt communist party officials.
A question of loyalty? Really, should it not be a question of whether the people of HK wish to make a donation to charity to help their fellow citizens? Thus the question is for the Legco who represents the people of HK to decide and not the CE to impose based upon his political leanings. Personally, with HK's vast wealth it seems to be a very honorable charitable donation to make to fellow citizens in need.
I fail to see the logics in denying Canning Fok's right to speak in defence of Hutchison and Li Ka Shing just because he's a top salary earner. The logical conclusion of Chugani's view is that nobody earning a higher salary than the dockers has the right to speak on the other side of the fence. If Hutchison hadn't spoken out, we would have been under the impression the dockers had been working as slaves.
People have the right to say what they please. But there are always consequences of your speech. Freedom of speech in HK (and this applies in the USA too) protects you from government persecution. It does not protect you from individuals who may become infuriated with your speech.
the sun also rises
I fully agree with Michael this time on boh his postings on the money from our public coffers our Leung administration is going to donate is actually a gesture to show his loyalty towards the Beijing authorities instead of so-called 'care and love for our compatriots' since our mother country is now rich enough to turn away an aid offer from Japan after the disaster ! Besides,the words uttered by one of our richest guys in town---the top aide of Li ka-shing,this idiotic top tax-payer,Canning Fok kin-ning that the striking dockers' HK$20,000 monthly salary is much higher than the median income of just HK$12,000 per month is itself b........indeed ! I wonder how such an idiotic fool like Fok can manage Li' commercial empire as the managing director of Whampoa Hutchison !


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